I am daring to hope we are nearly done with DDH. I have optimism that all will be fine – I have to believe that, I have to believe that the past year is coming to an end.
It is about this time last year that I really began to suspect something was wrong. Something was holding Erin back. That she wasn’t just being lazy, it wasn’t that she didn’t want to walk. I was begining to dread that there was a physical cause. It was a case of couldn’t rather than wouldn’t.
In August at 20 months she finally wobbled those first tentative steps, and in that instant our fears were justified. It still took 2 months before Erin was sat in front of the consultant and he explained how Erin’s DDH would be treated.
It has been a long long road with its ups and downs. Erin has been amazingly brave, calm and determined throughout it all. I have crumbled on many occasions, hot tears splashing down my cheeks when it has all got too much. Erin has spent her birthday, Christmas and many family occasions bound in a cast.
Here is a quick reflection of some of the pictures that tell our story over the past year.
We soon settled into our new routine and learnt life in spica is different but managable.
Spica 2 was tough, you can see in the picture just how big the cast is. But still we tried to carry on with life as normal. Even though I did resort to buying a double pram to accommodate Erin.
This cast was smaller and Erin was happy crawling around in it. She had the determination to get going! Life in cast had become our normal. I juggled her on my hip, can change nappies in next to no time. We went out, joined a music class and toddler group and got on with life.
Finally after 18 long weeks we had some respite from spica. We got her legs back for a few weeks. We knew that the treatment hadn’t been enough. That she would soon be in theatre for a bone graft operation. We just tried to forget that for the time being. We went to Center Parcs and made the most of the time.
Erin amazed us in this time, first by standing and then by walking. We had a date for next surgery but was able to enjoy the break from spica. I wasn’t sure if she would walk – remember her hip is still not in the socket at this time. Erin has never ran, she would struggle to walk over a raised bit of floor or on uneven ground. Her determination is outstanding.
All too soon we walked back to theatre, the waiting is always the worst part and putting her back into spica was heartbreaking, even though we knew it was for the greater good. The lowest point was after the Salters, Erin became very poorly and it was emotionally tough to see her so vunerable.
The week got worse with another trip to theatre. The final cast was put on and Erin was soon showing her infectious cheeky side once again.
I am so proud of how she has handled everything this year. I am grateful to her hospital team who I trust and appreciate all the care they have given Erin. I hope that we are nearly done. I hope for socket growth that would mean we are done with spica casts. Time will tell.